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review 2019-06-24 13:38
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
The Summer Book - Esther Freud,Thomas Teal,Tove Jansson

I liked this, but didn't love it. Sorry, B.T. Because I write in a completely different style to the one used here I sometimes find books that indulge in a heavy-handed approach to description a little slow. I loved the relationship between the grandmother and Sophia, those were my favourite bits. I only wish there'd been more of them. Sophia was such a precocious child with a hilarious temperament I longed for more from her. Perhaps if the book had been longer I may have got my wish. It was a mere 120 pages. While the descriptive prose were lovely, I felt there were too many of them and the relationship between Sophia and her grandmother was neglected a tad. The descriptive passages did, however, mean that the book was full of excellent imagery. I felt like I could see the island and breath the air. I would definitely recommend it.

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text 2019-06-19 20:36
Booklikesopoly Roll 5
The Summer Book - Esther Freud,Thomas Teal,Tove Jansson

I've been reading a few other things for the past few days (and still am), but decided to roll again anyway because I absolutely love it! I rolled 7 which took me to this space:

 

 

I've been meaning to read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson ever since BT gave it a glowing recommendation.

 

This is how my board looks now:

 

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review 2018-03-18 17:35
The Summer Book - Esther Freud,Thomas Teal,Tove Jansson

March 2018 Reader’s Group Read.


Rhianna Pratchett recently penned a piece for the Guardian about what the Moomins meant to both her and her father, Terry Pratchett. The Moomins are truly magical and wonderous. Jansson’s Moomin books are also about acceptance and love; it is not really funny in the book that one character wears a dress his aunt once wore.
But Jansson’s other work is as powerful as the Moomins. 
The Summer Book doesn’t really have a plot. In some ways, it is a collection of loosely connected short stories about a young girl and her grandmother as they spend time on a summer island. Sophia’s mother has died, Jansson never mentions what exactly happened, and her father is present but more as a hovering figure.
Sophia and her grandmother wander the island, and there are wonderful descriptions about the forest and the water. There is a visit from of Sophia’s, a young girl with wonderful hair. Sophia comes across as a rather interesting child. The book examines the rhythms of life and the conflicts that can occur. It’s a lovely little tale

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review 2015-02-18 06:14
'TO ACT - TO BE' or ALL THAT GLITTERS AIN'T GOLD
Lucky Break - Esther Freud

As someone who is both an avid movie fan and a respecter of those people among us who have opted to pursue acting careers, this is a novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading. "Lucky Break" is largely centered around 3 people --- Nell Gilby, Charlotte ("Charlie") Adedayo-Martin, and Dan Linden --- who first met in London during the early 1990s as drama students at Drama Arts, a school headed by Patrick Bowery, who is an exacting taskmaster and holds in his hands the future of his charges. Drama Arts proves to be a school of hard knocks where illusions are cruelly shattered as each student endeavors in Patrick's words, "to Act. To Be."

 

For those students who survive the first 2 years at Drama Arts, there is the offer of an additional year, graduation, and prospects for both stage and screen. BUT for those asked to leave after the 2 years, it could either be the end of life as he/she had known it, leaving them utterly adrift for having failed to measure up as would be actors -- OR finding one's way into another line of work. That is, settling for an ordinary existence.

 

Each chapter of "Lucky Break" gives the reader entree into the lives, loves, and struggles of the 3 main characters as each goes on from Drama Arts [hint: one of the 3 fails to graduate] to finding an agent to help get one's acting career off the ground, taking the plunge into the fickle and ruthless world of stage and screen, and establishing success and longevity in what can be an unforgiving career. It was fascinating to see how, over a 14-year period, the destinies of Nell, Charlie, and Dan were played out. For any reader like me with a curiosity about the lives of people in the acting profession, this novel is a winner.

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review 2014-02-11 00:00
The Summer Book
The Summer Book - Esther Freud,Thomas Teal,Tove Jansson I have read most of Jannson's works for children, but this is the first of her novels for adults that I have read. It is my opinion that Jansson was the greatest of all Children's writers and the most under-appreciated writer of any kind. This book reaffirms that opinion.
This book is also illustrated by her in a similar manner to the Moomin books. While not as good as the best of the Moomin books it is clearly a work of genius,

The book gains in intelligibility if you have read Moominpappa at Sea and Moominvalley in November, both of which resemble this book in tone and theme and in their lack of actual events. The book is about a child and her grandmother on an island following the death of the child's mother.

It is written with the stark simplicity, and stunning similes and metaphors of the later Moomin books. The old themes of loss, fear, parental abandonment and isolation while in a group of people are here. The sense of magic and the unknowable in the naturalistic landscape is there strongly as well. The quiet stillness of an unknowable anthropomorphized nature that can not be conquered, but only accepted permeates the book. The book touches on all sorts of things, such as the nature of love (the love is for a cat) or the nature of social convention and so on.

The whole thing has the magical, stillness of the later Moomin books. Not much happens in the book. Big events are things like trespassing on an island and riding out a storm.

The whole thing is startling and beautiful and the genius of Jansson is on full display. Seeing her familiar style and concerns transported into an adult novel makes clear that she is indeed a great writer and the incredibly precise word usage of her prose can be appreciated afresh. This isn't quite as brilliant as the best of the Moomin books, but it is brilliant, none the less. I do not know why I have waited so long to read it.
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